A woman's intuition is a powerful thing. Being able to read a situation is a gift many ladies have without even trying to hone it! Turns out, it actually gives them a leg up when it comes to running a business.
M.I.T. recently conducted a series of studies to figure out what makes the strongest team. Hundreds of people with varying IQs were put into groups and then asked to perform multiple tasks, both online and in person.
Once the tasks were complete, the judges analyzed the unique attributes of the winning teams. They found that the teams that scored the highest were not necessarily the ones with the highest IQs, but those who were the best at reading people. Extremely interesting was the successful teams' ability to detect the emotion of their teammates' written words when they worked online.
The most successful teams were also the ones with the most women on them.
Another study conducted by Mintigo showed that out of the two genders, women CEOs achieve the highest results in companies of more than 1,000 employees. Female leaders averaged about 18 percent higher revenue per employee than their male counterparts.
Both of these studies really boiled down to the importance of emotional intelligence, which is becoming one of the most sought after qualities in business today. Women should embrace this natural gift and find power in it! Unfortunately, female professionals tend to be extremely hard on themselves, which can be detrimental to their growth and success.
Here to help us with that today is Sue Heilbronner, CEO of MergeLane.
Her very cool accelerator program invests in women-owned businesses - largely because the organization values emotional intelligence. Sue has a thing or two to teach women about how to get ahead in business by embracing and enhancing their inherent assets. Here are her expert tips:
1. Fall in Love with Your Fear
All of us, including female entrepreneurs, tend to recoil from feelings of fear and uncertainty. We skip over those feelings, stuff them under the proverbial rug, or run speedily away in desperate avoidance. I have found that female entrepreneurs have a stronger aversion to fear. They are generally more risk-averse as well.
Let's face it. Fear is a critical component of the entrepreneurial journey. I often say that if you're not a little bit afraid, you're not pushing hard enough.
2. Embrace Imperfection
Women are in general more inclined toward perfectionism than their male counterparts. Until they or their businesses are "ready," they are considerably less willing to ask for help, raise the right-sized funding round, launch a product MVP, or reach out to a key strategic partner. This tendency toward perfectionism flies in the face of stretching into the biggest possible potential for a female leader or the company she runs.
The startup ecosystem now is built around the concept of "Lean" management, and the Lean system in part rests on the notion of putting ideas and products out there before they're perfect to test market demand and more. The cycle requires entrepreneurs to "Build, Measure, Learn." A perfectionist mindset makes this type of thinking nearly impossible. So, women, embrace your inner "im-perfectionist."
3. End Your Sentences with a Period
This is a seemingly small tip, but it has a big impact. Women often end their sentences with an upturned syllable, making a statement feel energetically like a question. Worse, I routinely find (at board meetings and dinner parties) that women will make an awesome argument or provide an incisive insight and follow it with some version of "for whatever that's worth" or "I don't know if that makes any sense."
Pay attention to these moments when you voluntarily initiate a free-fall from your power.
4. Own the Stage
Similar to #3, but on a grander scale, I routinely see female leaders shy away from the spotlight. Even when they are in the glow or on the proverbial "stage," they are hunched, they are shuffling their feet, they dash out of focus as soon as the opportunity allows. This tip can be literal or metaphorical.
Try to identify the bodily sensations you experience when you are in the spotlight, be it at the end of a speech, during a board presentation, or listening to other people heap praise upon you. As you feel the bubbles in your stomach, your speeding heart rate, and beads of sweat in places you don't much like sweating, take a few deep breaths. Stay present. Accept compliments graciously and spaciously.
5. Be You. The Real You.
Every one of these tips should be read and deployed in the context of who you are. The most important tip is to show up as your true, essential self. But be careful. Really ask yourself whether it is your "true self" or a "personality pattern" that might make you shy about your own success or nervous about standing behind an elegant argument or business decision.
Women are natural born leaders. It's been proven. So ladies, embrace it and see where it takes you!